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Thirty Five Years Ago

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Thirty five years ago, plus about one hour, Jack Huddle Jr. died.

He was my dad.

He was a man of integrity and a recovered alcoholic.

He listened to me when I was 13 when I cried and wondered if God existed.

He took me to work, dressed as a switchman, when I was 19, into the Alcoa plant south of Little Rock.

He learned to love my mother in the same way she loved him, the last months of his life.

He believed in God, playing chess with his best friend, and thought it was always better to leave a place better than the way you found it.

He hated to eat and was abused by his mother.

He love to fish. I loved to sit in the boat, holding my pole, while he sculled.

He only had Jake for a grandchild. I suspect they have had a few conversations. Where they are now, you know

He wasn’t a perfect father, but he was mine.

This is what he told me when I had Jake.

“Teach him how you love him, no matter what. Teach him about God. Those two things are what he can be sure of. Nothing else much matters.”

He was right.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dad.




3 Responses

  1. What a great message on Valentine’s Day. I appreciate your comments as to your dad not being perfect, but still your dad. Boy, can I ever relate to that!
    I never knew of any of your dad’s issues, only that he appeared from my perspective to be a good dad to you and Neal. I’m glad that he did seemingly resolve his issues before he died, and that you have pleasant memories of your time with him. As always, thanks for sharing and I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. Ditto on Tony’s reply! I didn’t get to know your Dad much, but he was definitely a hero to Kitty and me. One day when we were home alone, we discovered a snake had made its way into in our dining room. (Our best guess was that it came in through the hole in the back screen door.) It was a black snake and had curled itself up by the heater, most likely for warmth. We were so scared! We didn’t know what to do! First thing we did was to get out of the house! We went across the street to find Mr. McCool, but he wasn’t home. We went down the street to find anyone that could help. Fortunately, your Dad was home. He marched down to the circle, with a shovel in his hand. He went into the house and removed the unwanted visitor. We were very thankful for him on that particular day! Happiest memories are the best memories!

  3. Those words are so special. Life can shape you in a hard way and sometimes it is difficult to overcome so many things. He did a good job with you, and I am sure he is very proud of his daughter!

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